At Creighton’s pre-graduation ceremonies yesterday, I wished there had been time to help my beautiful new alums combat their fears of the scary world they face by sharing this wonderful line from St. Paul to Timothy. Since I was unable to do this, maybe some of you will do so with the graduates in your lives.
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”
Dear young friends, sooner or later you will hit a wall. Hard. You’ll feel like Job crying out to God in your affliction. Maybe you will even go to church some weekend wondering how to get through the next day let alone the next months and years.
However, if you can believe that “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control,” there will be a crack of light in your darkness because you are never alone. You already possess the power to face down your wall. Remember, St. Paul wrote this ode to faith while he was in prison.
Surely this “power” is not power as Wall Street might define it but rather the power to believe that God accompanies us on our journey, especially when it is hardest. It is the power to overcome our doubts and fears and selfishness and to reach out to others in love.
How interesting that Paul links “self control” and “love.” Is he telling us that love involves controlling our passions to give of ourselves to others? Any parent knows how essential such disciplined love is and how much it can cost. And you, my dear young friends, will find living such disciplined love an even bigger challenge than trying to get an A on a test.
A few years ago when I was going through a difficult period, a close friend sent me a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that became my mantra: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It has proven true but only because “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”
Blessings to all graduates and those who love them, especially those I have been privileged to work with. May God accompany you on your journeys.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook